Thursday, January 26, 2017

The 2017 Cathedral Antiques Show

The antiques-show season is upon us, and one show that many of us particularly look forward to is the Cathedral Antiques Show, organized and sponsored by the Episcopal Church Women of The Cathedral of St. Philip in Atlanta.  This year's show, which runs from February 9-12, is going to be an especially exciting one.  For the first time in its 48-year history, the antiques portion of the show is being administered by The Antiques Council, which means many dealers will be new to the show.  Dealers will include Antique American Wicker of Nashua, New Hampshire, William Cook of Berkshire, U.K., and show stalwart Thomas M. Fortner Antiques of Memphis, Tennessee.  Also new to this year's event will be a Live Auction during the show's Patron Preview Party (February 8); a highlight of the auction is a four-night trip to Venice, including a two-night stay at The Gritti Palace and two-nights at Hotel Ca'Sagredo. 

But wait, there's more.  This year's lineup of speakers is equally as impressive and includes Alexa Hampton, Chuck Chewning, Cathy Kincaid, Margot Shaw, and Laura Dowling, the former chief floral designer at the White House.  (The ever-popular Flower Festival is returning to this year's show.)  Plus, the Tour of Homes and Young Collectors' Home Tour will, once again, help to round out the event.

The 2017 show, chaired by dynamos Laura Cullen and Beverly Gwynn, will benefit First Step Staffing.  For more information, or to purchase tickets, please visit the show's website.

The Gritti Palace's recent renovation will be the focus of speaker Chuck Chewning's talk, and a two-night stay there will be auctioned off during the Preview Party.

The dining room in one of the houses featured on the Tour of Homes.

 A house on the Young Collectors' Home Tour.

 A room decorated by designer Cathy Kincaid, who is one of the show's speakers.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

A Return to Elegance?

The 2017 trend forecasts have been announced, and if what the prognosticators are saying comes true, we have French food and a return to elegant entertaining in store for us over the next year.  (Down with the Mason jar, and up with the Baccarat!)  But will this renewed appreciation for refinement find its way into the world of decorating?  Will fine fabrics, shapely antique chairs, traditional wallpapers, sophisticated paint schemes, porcelain birds perched on gilded brackets, and dining tables appointed with linen cloths and silver candelabra- all seen here in fine form, courtesy of a sophisticated gentleman's Paris home- once again find favor with a larger audience?  It might be a stretch, but it's certainly a nice thought to ponder.

All photos from A Home in Paris by Catherine Synave, Guillaume de Laubier photographer

Thursday, January 19, 2017

The Elevator Lobby

Private elevator lobbies and vestibules- it's been quite some time since I've seen one appear in print.  Granted, these bijou spaces are not very common, existing mostly in cosmopolitan, residential high-rises where they usually serve as private entrances to sprawling, whole-floor apartments.  More discreet and gracious than an elevator that pitches people directly into an apartment, an elevator lobby offers visitors a moment of anticipation before entering an apartment's front door.  Think of them as an aesthetic greeting, one that serves as a sign of things to come once inside the apartment's realm.

I was recently charmed by two images of elevator lobbies that were published in 1930.  The photograph at the top of this post shows an elevator entrance with "walls painted black, with panels of antique etched glass.  The ceiling is silver and a contrasting floor in black terrazzo."  Now, that's chic.  Even more elaborate is the lobby immediately below this text: "In the elevator foyer there are alternating panels of black and silver glass with a scalloped valance of gold glass and a draped ceiling of yellow satin. The floor is black with silver metal inserts. The console is black and gold."  I find the gold-mirrored, scalloped valance, which serves as a transition between the fabric-draped ceiling and mirrored walls, to be particularly clever.

Of course, an elevator lobby doesn't have to be over-the-top in order to be stylistically effective.  Mark Hampton created a classically-inflected, barrel-vaulted vestibule for one client (see below), while the elevator lobby of Anne Bass's apartment is rather calm-looking.  But, like Carroll Petrie, whose shimmery vestibule I included below, I think elevator vestibules seem made for mirror or, though lacking the enticing quality of reflection, an astounding mural.  After all, these spaces are usually so small, why not lavish them with wit, whimsy, or a dash of theatricality?

The 1930 elevator foyer with the yellow satin-draped ceiling.

Although this Dorothy Draper-decorated elevator lobby was not a private lobby, the design seems conducive to elevator vestibules and entrance halls alike.

This vestibule was conceived by Mark Hampton.  The walls are painted to appear as if constructed of stone blocks.

In this 1990 photo of the elevator lobby leading to Anne Bass's apartment, the space's walls were faux-painted to mimic the marble floors.

The mirrored vestibule of the late Carroll Petrie's apartment.

Image #3 from Manhattan Style; #4 and #6 from New York Apartments: Private Views; #5 from Private New York

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Château de Castille

If you follow the international real estate pages of the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal, you are likely familiar with Château de Castille. Located near Uzès in southern France, the 18th-century château with a 13th-century foundation was put up for sale in late 2015. Still on the market (or so it seems), the château has a rich history, especially during the mid-twentieth century, when art collector and historian Douglas Cooper owned and inhabited the residence. (Cooper's then partner, art historian and Picasso expert, John Richardson, lived there for a stint during Cooper's ownership.)

A friend and patron of Pablo Picasso, Cooper engaged the artist, who supposedly coveted the house, to create a series of sandblasted murals, which appear on the walls of the château's loggia. Now officially protected as historic monuments , the frescoes are touted as the château's most famous feature, not to mention its greatest selling point. But as enticing as the murals are, it's the château's interiors that compel me more. Decorated by the under-the-radar American designer, Dick Dumas, the house's interiors are an enticing blend of traditional French fabrics (such as Le Manach's Pommes de Pin, the pinecone print seen in the blue bedroom below) and modern-looking prints, installed alongside antique furnishings and modern artwork. Despite a few tell-tale signs that Dumas likely decorated the château decades ago (namely, the prominent ceiling spot lights), little about these interiors seem dated to me.

Since Cooper's tenure as owner, the château has belonged to a French family, whose heirs made the decision to sell.  After seeing these French AD photos of Château de Castille, I can only hope that a buyer sensitive to the château's unique qualities will purchase it.

Photos from French AD, François Halard photographer.

Palm Beach Fantasy

Winter weather got you down?  Then how about a Palm Beach pick-me-up, courtesy of the February issue of House Beautiful?  Chock full of design goodness, the issue features the Palm Beach pied-à-terre of designer Amanda Lindroth, who divides her time between her home base of the Bahamas and her retail shop in Palm Beach.  Located in an Addison Mizner-designed building, this gem of a home is made even more beguiling thanks to the living room's trompe l'oeil mural, painted by British artist and historian, Aldous Bertram. Inspired by the legendary plasterwork at Claydon House in England, Bertram injected wit and high-style into his mural, which is even more impressive considering the artist had never before painted on this scale.

To see the full article (and I highly recommend you do,) please visit the House Beautiful website or pick up a copy at your local newsstand.

Photos courtesy of House Beautiful, February 2017, Jonny Valiant photographer